Wednesday, 30 November 2011


What Have You Done Today To Make You Feel Proud?

Today I was part of the 2 million plus, public sector workers who went on strike.
(A sign of the times is the protest had it's own twitter hashtag, #N30.)

I wasn't just striking for myself and fellow teachers, I also had the Armed services, Fire service and Police service at the back of my mind who don't have the option.
The police in particular are being shafted by a government that nobody voted for, and in my opinion have no mandate to enforce such money grabbing changes.

It is widely known that all the extra money we are being forced to pay 'towards our gilt edged pensions' won't be going anywhere near our pension funds.
There is enough money to keep them going for many, many years, having been renegotiated as recently as 2008.
The extra money is going to be poured into the deficit that not one single public sector worker contributed to.

It was interesting when the right wing press trotted out the tired old argument that many Private sector workers have much shoddier pensions than us, so we should be thankful (for having to pay an extra £80 a month, for maybe 7 more years, to get thousands of pounds less each year when we retire).

The fact that many Private sector workers don't have pension schemes, or choose not to pay into one, isn't a reason for us to race to the bottom , we should be trying to improve the pensions for all, both Private and Public sector.

This evening I enjoyed listening to prominent members of the government wringing their hands as they wept crocodile tears because millions of people had been inconvenienced.

 The country had apparently been shown in a bad light meaning foreign business would choose not to come here, many millions of pounds had been lost in productivity, working parents had been forced to stay at home and (I'm slightly stretching the point here), the poor little kiddies would now miss out on their chance to take up an Oxbridge place due to the gaps in their learning.

Strangely, with all the above in mind, today was also described as a 'damp squib' where people hardly noticed the protest!

I'm proud to have been on strike today and proud to have stood up for what I believe in.

Monday, 28 November 2011


Charlton Athletic 2 - Huddersfield Town 0.

Well that's it.
Sky were expecting a Harlem Globetrotters style exhibition game where the 'invincibles' from Yorkshire put the lowly upstarts from South London to the sword.

Unfortunately for all of those concerned, Huddersfield can stick their record up dot dot dot as the North upper sang.

Kermit and Hogan scored the goals but for my money, we won the game in defence.

Morrison and Taylor were immense, little Chris Solly was in control, Taylor and Wiggins also had fine games.

I don't mind admitting I was more than a little worried about tonight.

When a Huddersfield supporter told me before the game that we should be happy with a point I responded bullishly that it was rubbish. We wanted all 3 points and we were going to get them!

I didn't believe it really but so it came to pass.

The only slight fly in the ointment was Yann Kermorgant being stretchered off in the last few minutes.
It looked serious and I wish him well.

A Casual Rating.

My MOM who, of course, is being awarded the Lacoste polo is Michael Morrison.
He seemed to be just in the right place, every time to foil the Huddersfield attacks.

The Primark novelty slogan t-shirt is going to whoever decided the East stand turnstiles were going to be perfectly fine with some of them closed.
I was still outside with 5 minutes played.

Ref Watch.
Hmm. I wasn't impressed.
We won despite the referee tonight.
He seemed particularly adverse to awarding us free kicks for pushes and tugs yet somehow managed to award a free kick when tiny Chris Solly breathed on huge beast Parkin.

I don't care a stuff.
We are 7 points clear and I'm going to bed with a smile on my face.
Good Night all.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Gary Speed.

Like many other football supporters, I was rocked when I heard about the tragic death of Gary Speed.

I first became aware of Speed when he played as a youngster for Leeds United.
He went on to have a superlative career, for a series of clubs and his beloved Wales.

I never met Gary Speed but I liked him.
He seemed an honest pro who looked after himself.

Despite having more reason than many to boast, he seemed a very down to earth, ordinary bloke.

He was a handsome bugger but I don't remember reading any stories of him taking advantage of the girls who no doubt threw themselves in his direction.

As both of us were born around the same time, I enjoyed fantasising that perhaps I could still put in a bit of a shift on the pitch (instead of lolling about on the sofa) as we approached 40 years.

Especially now, at a time when the ethics of the press are being investigated, I hope the media give his family some space.

R.I.P. Gary.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Bogey Picked.

Brentford 0 - Charlton Athletic 1.

The Bees of Brentford.
The 'B' seemed to stand for Bogey as far as Charlton Athletic were concerned, especially when the fixture was taking place over in West London.

I'm pretty sure yesterday was my 5th visit to Griffin Park and until then, I was yet to witness a win for the Addicks.

My previous visits had taught me to bring a nice tasty Melton Mowbray pork pie in my pocket and to not expect much from Charlton on the pitch.
Without fail we have filled the away end but the raucous backing hasn't been converted into strong performances on the pitch.

"Here we go again!" I thought as Brentford completely dominated the first half and probably should have been 2-0 up by the interval.
The fact that the score was still 0-0 was completely down to our own good luck and some very Lisbie- esque finishing from Brentford.

Just before halftime, I moved from my position to the right of the goal and went in search Al who had messaged me to say he was at the other end of the stand.
It was no mean achievement but I spotted him along with a rowdy bunch of supporters who had made it to the game on a party boat from Greenwich.

Saying they had the air of over refreshment would be pretty accurate. There was a fug of alcohol hanging over the area as the ethanol escaped through their pores.
It was probably the drunkest football related crowd I've been a part of since watching Jack Charlton's Ireland beat Italy at the World Cup finals, USA 1994.

Unfortunately, I wasn't actually at the game, I was inside The Irish Centre Northampton, discovering long forgotten fake Irish ancestry as we all drank Guinness and tucked into stew that could hold a standing spoon.

From my new vantage point things seemed to improve.
Morrison showed admirable skill to escape a dicey situation and had me shouting "ole!".

In the second half the Addicks attacked the goal surrounded by our supporters. We had the perfect view of a pretty awful collision between goalkeeper Lee and defender Logan.

BWP had been haring in on goal and attempted to push the ball past the speeding 'keeper. The ball went wide but by then not many people were looking as it was pretty obvious there was something seriously wrong with Logan.

The medics from both teams raced onto the pitch and over 8 minutes elapsed before he was stretchered off, to the sound of sympathetic applause from all 4 sides of the ground.

The break in play rattled Brentford.
Soon after, Danny Green sent in a delicious low cross that only needed a touch from somebody to make it 1-0.

It came as no surprise to see it was BWP who bundled the ball over the line.


The away end erupted in the way only a terrace of very tightly packed, refreshed, standing supporters can do.

It became a bit of a mosh pit for around 30 seconds and bloody marvellous it was too!

Could we hang on?

There were a few dodgy moments, not least when Skip Jackson crumpled down near to the advertising hoardings and Charlton kicked the ball out so he could receive attention.

After the long wait for Logan you'd have thought Brentford would have given Jackson the same courtesy but as he was already off the pitch, they just picked up the ball and attacked from the throw in.

Charlton were outraged.
The referee was powerless as no real offence had occurred but it did seem rather petty and really didn't show Brentford in a good light.

There were "a minimum of 10 minutes of added on time" for Charlton to see out when the clock hit 90 minutes.

It ended up being around 14 minutes as the ref had to sort out his paperwork when there was another case of Brentford losing their cool. So incensed were they at losing a game they probably should have won they went in hard, and late, on their old boy Hamer.

There was an outbreak of pointing, pushing and restraining but it was all what the pundits call 'handbags'.

Once that was over, the referee finally decided we'd all had our moneys worth and blew for time.

Three sides of the ground emptied pretty sharpish but the 1800+ Addicks stayed behind to applaud the team, have the team applaud them back and to sing about being "Top of the Leeeeaaague!"

A few pleasant pints in a pub at Kew before heading home just finished off a pretty good day.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Top Weekend.

A brief post.
When I left work on Friday evening, the weekend stretched out before me, and what a good weekend it proved to be.

On Saturday morning we went to visit my mum and took her out for lunch at a local hotel.
She said many times how much she enjoyed the meal but I think it was feeding the ducks at a nearby pond, (using bread rolls we'd pinched from the hotel) that gave her the most pleasure.

On Saturday evening the ex Charlton players lead England to a fine victory over the reigning World Champions at Wembley.
Not many people had given England a sniff of a chance but the national team poked Spain in the eye to win 1-0, somewhat fortuitously.

I must confess I found a John Terry and Wayne Rooney free side much easier to feel warm about.

Later on Saturday I hopped on the tube to head over to Hammersmith to see Motorhead rocking out.

As a kid, Motorhead were in the "What's that racket?" department as far as my parents were concerned.
Needless to say, young me loved them all the more, even sporting a Motorhead tee shirt in my very first passport photograph.

Old me has changed of course.
Much as I still enjoy the sound of Lemmy and co, nowadays the prospect of the 'Loudest Band In The World' means ear plugs being worn under my beanie hat!

Today, a rare opportunity to enjoy Charlton playing live on television didn't have the embarrassment the television executives were hoping for.  Charlton wrecked ITV's plans to show the world how far we've fallen by actually being quite good.

The commentators sounded almost suicidal as Charlton managed to put 4 goals past a spirited Halifax.

We are supposed to be crud on television so Andy Townsend and friends were licking their lips at being able to bring the viewing public a 'Giant Killing'.

I remarked as the game progressed, that had I set up a drinking game before kick off where I had to take a swig every time our defeat to Northwich Victoria was mentioned, I'd never have seen the end of the game.
I'd have been blinded by alcohol poisoning!

I was particularly taken with Chris Solly's performance, (quality!!) and also very pleased for Bradley Pritchard who scored the final goal and his first for the club.
He was looking to be a really good prospect before his injury lay off so it's great to have him back.

So, another 4 goals scored!

Roll on the Bees of Brentford next week.

Do we bet on 4 goals?

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Five Star Performance From Charlton.

Charlton Athletic 5- Preston North End 2.

I'm going to swerve past the most obvious statement for November 5th, (the one proclaiming there were 'fireworks at the Valley') and I'll leave it to imagination free sub editors on the Sunday papers.

If you were at the Valley today, you'd have seen a fantastic first half performance that was as near to perfection as I've seen in many years.

Before the game, we'd commented that 10 goals in a week probably meant there'd be none today.

The record now stands at 15 goals scored in just 4 games!
Heady times.

The Charlton goals were all well worked. None relied on defensive errors or goalkeeping calamities.

The scoring order was Jackson (16 minutes), Morrison (22 minutes), Jackson again with a penalty (26 minutes), BWP on 38 minutes and finally, my favourite goal from Hollands on 69 minutes.

I'm being honest here and owning up to only brief memories of each of the goals (other than the sublime Hollands one).
I was just sitting back and enjoying Charlton taking apart a team that are expected to be in the Play Offs at least by the end of the season.
I do recall the penalty was well dispatched (down the middle?) after Yann Kermorgant had been scythed down by the goalkeeper. Oddly there wasn't a card of any colour shown to the fortunate custodian.

It's great to be an Addick just now.
I'll record the Football League Show later and hopefully find out what happened if they can squeeze the goals and chances into our regular 40 seconds.

Preston managed a couple of consolation goals with the game already won and only a couple of minutes left to play.

I'm hoping that Chris Powell uses those final few minutes of relaxation as the driver for the team to kick on next time, just as defeat at Stevenage propelled us into the present situation.

As it stands, we are 5 points clear at the top of League 1.
Obviously I want us to win every game but we can afford to only draw against Brentford and even lose against Huddersfield, and still sit at the top of the pile.

A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.

I'm off to enjoy the fireworks at Blackheath.